Sunday, 23 July 2017 13:56

Ransomware. It’s everywhere

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Glover Bill coBill Glover brought his expertise as the former chief information officer for the Archdiocese of Baltimore to his role as one of the presenters at the Diocesan Information Systems conference (DISC) hosted this year by the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.

Almost daily, headlines scream of financial institutions, cell phone companies and even governments contending with online theft and breaches of personal information. Millions of dollars are spent on patches and other corrective measures.

Hacking goliaths like Target and Bank of America is one thing. But what about your parish? What happens if your diocese is hacked?

“We for the most part, are still a trusting society and when the trust is broken, it shatters us; it reaches us to the core,” said Glover. “The question comes back to us as a church is how vulnerable are we given the fact that we do not have the same budgets (as the goliaths) yet we have the same needs.”

The numbers speak for themselves. A data hack at the parish level, according to Glover, is, at best, an inconvenience and cause for alarm but will not have much of an effect diocese-wide. Glover’s former archdiocese contained one-half million people.

“It’s a significant responsibility to protect that information,” said Glover. “If at a diocesan level you are prey to these situations, it could have a resounding impact.”

Glover spoke to the issue of ransomware to the diocesan IT convention attendees. The situation is as unsettling as the word “ransom” itself. Imagine your diocesan information locked by overseas criminals.

“It paralyzes an organization and being able to know that you have backups that you can go back to one day, five days, three weeks is absolutely critical to not having to go forward to pay a ransom.”

Glover spoke to DISC during its three-day convention in Springfield which attracted nearly 100 participants and vendors from more than 50 dioceses. Glover is a past president and board member of the organization from 2009-2014. Currently, Glover is executive vice president for the more than 22,000 member American Urological Association.

More information about DISC is available at www.discinfo.org.

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